CRTC approves new disconnection and deposit code for home telephone services

by Jeff Wiener on November 14, 2011

Today, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved a new disconnection and deposit code for home telephone services where prices are not regulated. The code will apply to both large telephone companies and their competitors starting on May 14, 2012.

Earlier this year, the CRTC asked representatives from the telecommunications industry and consumer groups to develop a streamlined code. As a result of this collaboration, the new code sets out clear obligations regarding:

– the grounds for disconnection if a subscriber fails to pay his or her bill
– the notice that phone companies must provide before disconnecting a telephone line
– the hours and days during which companies may disconnect service
– restoration of service when a telephone line is disconnected in error
– provisions to avoid disconnection during disputes over billing, and
– the maximum of any deposit a company may request and the interest it must pay on the deposit.

“Too often in the past, Canadians have encountered different policies from companies where their home telephone service is disconnected or they must provide a deposit,” said Leonard Katz, the CRTC’s Vice-Chairman of Telecommunications. “We appreciate the industry’s cooperation and support in developing a streamlined code. We believe that self-regulatory initiatives such as this are the preferred option for consumers and the industry.”

The code will be enforced by the telecommunications industry’s ombudsman, the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS). Established in 2007, the CCTS has well-established processes to handle consumer complaints about telecommunications services in an independent and fair manner.

In the few markets that are still regulated by the CRTC, where consumers do not have access to competitive alternatives, the traditional telephone company will continue to adhere to its existing disconnection and deposit policies. These policies are enforced by the CRTC.

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